In terms of holiday hits, 2022 has left much to be desired. Sure, there is Disney Plus series The Santa Clauses, and of course, a horde of new Hallmark and television movies, but there has yet to be a true breakout Christmasey hit. Of the various flicks I have seen from major streamers such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu, the UK’s Your Christmas or Mine? emerges as a cheeky blast with a great ensemble cast. In other words, even if it may not be the most memorable holiday rom-com ever, this feature from director Jim O’Hanlon and screenwriter Tom Parry is an overall Christmas-tinged delight. Led by Asa Butterfield (Netflix’s Sex Education, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children) and Cora Kirk (Prey for the Devil, the upcoming After Everything), Your Christmas or Mine? presents the kind of scenario one would often find in a Disney Channel Original Movie or ABC Family Special, then elevates it with slick writing and punchy humor.
James (Butterfield) and Hayley (Kirk) have been dating for a couple of months now. Neither has met the other’s family. They arrive at a train station as the film begins, each headed off for different destinations to spend Christmas with their respective family units. James snaps an adorable Polaroid of Hayley, then essentially begs her to come have Christmas with him in the countryside. As much as she wants to, Hayley bids him farewell in the midst of a romantic gesture that ends with him shouting how much he loves her. Seated in two separate trains, they both have the same idea at the exact same time: how about throwing caution to the wind, and not being apart for Christmas?
The train swap does not go as smoothly as either of them expect. What started as a surprise turns into a potentially serious problem when the inclement weather prevents Hayley and James from traveling home. Without a way to contact one another, James stays in Hayley’s extended family home for the night, while Hayley receives an unusual greeting at the surprise mansion of James and his father. Unbeknownst to one another, both Hayley and James have a truckload of secrets to unwrap that will test the very fabric of their relationship. Finicky transportation and continually horrid weather prevents a simple overnight stay, automatically extending the length they are forced to spend in their opposing familial abodes.
The name of the game here is situational humor and rom-com vibes. Butterfield and Kirk have a natural chemistry that sings in the few scenes they share together. By maximizing their time apart, they learn new things about each other that they would have never experienced otherwise. Both absorb one another’s family histories and Christmas traditions, and the juxtaposition is quite amusing indeed. James’s father is a cold snooty man who doesn’t “make a fuss” about the holiday, but Hayley’s family goes all-out, including customized sweaters and obnoxiously excessive decorations.
I am trying carefully not to spoil any of the surprises the film holds, as I think there is a definite shock value element as Your Christmas or Mine? chugs along. The first word that comes to mind here is “cute.” Either way, there is so much fun to be had. As classics go, this could be a contender destined for regular holiday-movie rotation. I know I will be spreading the joy of this silly little movie in the years to come, one that feels special thanks to the inherent strangeness of its concept.
Your Christmas or Mine? makes the ultimate switcheroo when it debuts exclusively to Prime Video in the UK on Friday, December 2nd.